The firm said it will spend €85m ($110.4m) to expand its manufacturing plant in Dortmund, Germany – creating 100 new jobs – and explained that the facility is currently operating at full capacity. The plan is to be able to make 44m Respimat inhalers a year by 2015.
BI board member Wolfram Carius said: "We expect that the Respimat business will continue its strong growth. For this reason, Boehringer Ingelheim is now laying the symbolic foundation stone to expand production capacity for the Respimat Soft Inhaler at the Dortmund facility.
“In future, we will continue to meet the increasing demand, while at the same time fulfilling our claim to provide patients with innovative medications" he continued.
A spokesman confirmed the plan and told in-Pharmatechnologist.com the money will be spent on new cleanrooms and production machines. He also said the extra capacity will be used to manufacture BI’s own products rather than for those of third parties.
BI's claims about growing demand fit with its most recent financial statement - released in August - when it said that Spiriva and Combivent helped group sales increase by 6.8 per cent to €7.1bn ($9.3bn).
BI’s respiratory products are based on its ‘soft mist’ technology, which generates a mist using mechanical means rather than chemical propellants. The firm acquired the platform and the Dortmund plant when it bought microtechnology specialist STEAG microparts in 2004.
STEAG – since renamed BI microParts – continues to operate the Dortmund site, employing a workforce of around 450 people.
The manufacturing investment is the second BI has made in as many years. In 2010 the firm announced that it has spent around €70m to expand production capacity at the site, again citing demand for its Respimat products.